Dangerous ST-DAC Review (Monitor ST DA Converter)

If you have a Dangerous Monitor ST, the DAC-ST DA converter makes perfect sense. Like all Dangerous products, the integration with the Monitor ST is seamless and opens some new routing options.

Dangerous DAC-ST AD Converter

Here’s a list of the main features:

  • high quality 2-channel DA
  • ability to monitor up to 5 digital sources through the same converter
  • seamless integration with the Monitor ST remote
  • multiple format converter (RCA S/PDIF to AES/EBU or vice versa)

The quality of the DA is excellent – compared to some of the Apogee Rosetta and PSX converters that were around at the time of this test, the DAC-ST sounds noticeably clearer and better defined. If you are comparing something like a cheaper Avid converter, say a a Digi003 converter to this unit, the difference is night and day – an 003 DA section sounds like it is under a horse blanket. If you simply need to upgrade your DA, then the DAC-ST is one of the best and seemingly most accurate products I’ve heard yet. Others agree and the general interweb consensus seems to be that this is among the top converters you can find with very few exceptions.

The ability to monitor digital sources through the same converter is one of the DAC-ST’s main selling points. Say you have a CD player, DAT machine, or some other source with a digital output. Being able to listen and compare these through the same DA converter allows direct comparison of the source material, excluding each device’s own DA. In addition, the switching is immediate and seamless – perfect for A/B testing similar sources.

One other nice feature is that you don’t need a transformer for the S/PDIF RCA inputs – just connect them the correct way (S/PDIF to AES wiring diagram) and you are set – the DAC-ST can handle the juice without any external equipment. In addition, there’s a front panel S/PDIF input so you don’t have to crawl around the back of the rack to plug a portable source in – pretty cool.

Dangerous has always done a great job of integrating their products with each other and the DAC-ST and Monitor ST are no exception. The remote is exactly what I would want with a beautiful and functional look. The ability to expand the system (like when adding the DAC-ST) keeps all of the information and controllability where I need it.

The overall build quality and feel of this unit is top notch – typical for Dangerous products.

Features aside, the DAC-ST is an awesome addition to the Monitor ST and it sounds awesome, period. It makes life easier and gives the interface more functionality. You can’t ask for much more than that. Check out this review to learn more about the Dangerous Monitor ST.

Some Extra Resources

  • An excellent learning center on the Dangerous website that talks about the history of mastering audio and how the industry grew up
  • Another great resource is this one pager on the DAC-ST, also found on the newly redesigned Dangerous site
  • Or, listen to Chris Muth (designer of the gear) talking about his background before Dangerous
  • A background on Dangerous Music as a whole

Dangerous DAC-ST with monitor ST

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  1. […] for some editorial fodder to pull the trigger on the Dangerous unit. If you are interested in the Dangerous DAC-ST, well then, you’re in luck! Click that previous link and you’ll learn a bit […]



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